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The Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon was my first try at the 13.1-mile distance, and I was bound and determined not to repeat the rookie mistakes I’ve made in previous races. In last year’s Run For Oromia 10k and Twin Cities Marathon, I felt good at the beginning and started way too fast. With my Timex Bodylink GPS system I knew that I would be able to monitor my pace often, and I hoped that I could stick with my race plan and avoid flaming out.

Conditions were perfect today. It was just under 50°F at the start and almost 60°F by the end. It was just cold enough at the start that everyone kept their outer layers on until the last minute. Since the race goes point-to-point, I appreciated the fact that they transported our warmups to the finish for us. The course ran along Lake Minnetonka (go figure from the name of the race) and was hillier than I’d expected. Nothing too steep or long, but lots of them.

My plan was to do the first couple miles at 9:00 pace, 8:45 pace until 10k, 8:30 pace until 10 miles, and then empty the tank in the final 5k.

Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon 2008 Splits

From the looks of the graph, I’d say my game plan went quite well. The two slower miles at 6 and 11 were due to a combination of slowing for water stops and some hills. I’m definitely happy with the trend line. I’ve never been able to do negative splits before.

The official results haven’t been posted yet, but the time on my watch was 1:53:40. I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t broken two hours, and I was hoping to go under 1:55. According to the Running Times Race Time Equivalent calculator, that puts my projected marathon time at 4:01:34. I’d really like to break four hours at Grandma’s Marathon on June 21, so I guess I’m going to need to get my lazy butt out of bed a little earlier and log some more miles.

Update: The results are in. I finished officially in 1:53:42 placing 472 out of 1449 overall and 103/192 in my age group. (One nice thing about turning 40 later this year is that I get to start competing against guys who are older than I am.) My knees are a bit sore tonight, but it’s a good kind of sore.

Seen on TechCrunch:

Heads up YouTube, Flickr announced today that it has added video capabilities. Note that for now only Pro subscribers can upload video. This was just in time for me, because I was trying to decide how I was going to share a short video that I took on my recent Hawaii vacation of the “Sensitive plant” (Mimosa pudica). Problem solved! I just uploaded it and added it to the collection of my vacation photos. The video plays seamlessly alongside my photos and integrates really well with the whole Flickr experience.

I’ve never felt like jumping into YouTube in a big way because I just don’t shoot that much video. This new Flickr feature is perfect for me. I’ll be really curious to see if it takes off. By the way, I shot this video with my new Canon G9 digital camera. It takes amazing still pictures, and the video is really impressive too.

We got our first family computer last fall, a 24″ Apple iMac. It had been running like a champ until a strange hardware problem popped up a few weeks ago. It didn’t boot properly a few times, and when I investigated further I found that the system was reporting that the hard drive was starting to get flakey. Following a trip to the local Apple Store, I was back home with a new 750-GB drive (replaced under warranty). Fortunately, I had a full system backup and didn’t lose a single kilobyte of data. Here’s what I’m using as my personal backup strategy. Perhaps it will be useful for someone who runs across this post.

I’ve been busily ripping my CD collection into FLAC and AAC formats since I got the new computer. That’s well over 100 GB right there. In addition, I’ve got a complete archive of every podcast I’ve ever produced with the full uncompressed, unedited audio; some ripped DVDs (DVDs that I own, of course); Final Cut Pro projects; every digital picture I’ve ever taken; and a boatload of software. All told, I’ve got almost 450 GB of data on that disk. Backing up to a few DVDs isn’t going to cut it.

I bought a 500-GB Western Digital MyBook last year which seemed huge at the time. Currently I’m doing weekly full system backups to it with SuperDuper!, an awesome backup and drive imaging tool for OS X. SuperDuper! can be used for free to create a bootable backup to an external drive, or, if you pony up $27.95, it will do a “smart update” on subsequent backups that copies only changed files. That saves a ton of time when you’ve got hundreds of gigs to backup. When I got my iMac back from the Apple Store I did a SuperDuper! “restore” back to the new hard drive, and I was back in business.

I decided that I didn’t want to have the external My Book plugged in 100% of the time so I upgraded my wireless access point to an Apple Airport Extreme because I wanted to use the hard drive sharing feature. It works really well, but I’ve only got a 100-Mbit switch on my home network. That’s a far cry from the Firewire 800 connection that I use when it’s plugged in to the iMac directly. Feeling the need for speed, I just bought a Netgear JGS524 24-port Gigabit switch from Newegg.com ($180 after rebate). That should make the Airport Extreme’s USB 2.0 connection the bottleneck instead of my network.

I’ve shelled out a few hundred bucks at this point, but I’ve got great protection from a system failure or accidental deletion. I’m well on my way to a complete solution, but I haven’t dealt with the tornado or fire scenario. I’m working on that now, and I’ll give the details in Part II.

Tim 1, Marathon 0

7 Oct 2007

My biggest fansI did it. My finishing time was 4:45 which I’m pretty happy with considering the brutal heat. I’d hoped to finish closer to 4:15, but it was 80°+ with a dew point near 70° and I knew that I’d have no chance of going that fast. What weird weather. It’s not supposed to be like this in Minneapolis in October.

I had planned to run in a pace group that was going to come in at around 4:15, but I got the starting line late and I started quite far back near the 5:30 group. I passed the 4:30 pace group after about three miles, but I never did see the 4:15 group. I was right on pace at mile 15, but the heat started taking a toll soon after. I had to do some walking over the last 10 miles, but I finished strong. Luckily the last mile is pretty much downhill. Feel free to check out my marathon photo set.

My knees are a bit sore, but otherwise I feel good. Tomorrow morning will be the true test. I’m planning to wear my marathon shirt to work tomorrow. I hope it looks OK with khakis.

Top three signs seen along the marathon route today:

  1. Caption on large Homer Simpson cutout: “You paid to do this?”
  2. Donna, don’t die!
  3. You’re a freakin’ springbok, dude!

New iMac

We got our first family computer on Tuesday, and my boys are pretty excited. I’ve got a couple laptops, but they’re for work and I don’t let the kids use them. Now, though, we’re ready to roll. I’ve downloaded Scratch, Google Earth, and Sketchup, and I’m looking forward to working on them with my oldest who’s eight.

We’ll be using Safari for the boys with its parental controls that allow us to restrict their web surfing to certain pre-approved sites. What I don’t have is a good list of kid-friendly sites. I plan to check out Club Penguin, but I’d love to get some other suggestions.

If there’s a distinguishing characteristic of educational reform, and reform efforts in general, it’s the lack of patience in sustaining difficult effort over time. We criticize students who can’t seem to exercise delayed gratification, but don’t seem to notice that educators, government officials, and the general public aren’t any better.

Reference: Taylor, Sharon, and Ivor Macfarlane. ITIL Small-scale Implementation. London: TSO, 2005.

Silver Bullet Lifecycle

Here are links to all of the sites I’ll be mentioning in my talk at IL-TCE on Thursday and Friday.

Blogging

Google Maps mashups

Tag searching

Wikipedia

Other

Update: I popped into Steve Dembo’s presentation to hear what Web 2.0 apps he’s using these days. Here is his top10freesites wiki.

Here are links to all of the sites I’ll be mentioning in my talk at TIES on Tuesday.

Blogging

Google Maps mashups

Technorati searching

Wikipedia

Other

ties, ties2006, web2.0